It was pretty much a gloomy day. My parents had left me in the hostel with total strangers. I saw girls walking in with ease with huge flashy luggage. Some definitely made friends faster than the others. Every moment was intimidating for an introvert like me. It was very difficult to strike a conversation with anyone, with all the fears that engulfed me. The “what if “ questions haunted me. What if they rejected me? What if I am not good enough for them? What if I am not as beautiful as them?
Let me take you back in time to when these insecurities cropped in. Here, I have to mention that I come from a very loving family where my father and mother cared for me a lot. In Spite of my closely knit family, I went through a lot of insecurities with the way I looked. I could never love myself, wishing that I was not the way I was. I did not like the way my hair curled up. I did not like my big fat nose. I even tried to change the shape of my nose using a clothes clip. I often compared myself to others. I was never happy with the way I looked. To add to the already faint heart, some of the children made fun of my nose and my hair. I did not like my dark skin, thanks to the media and ‘Fair and Lovely’ ads. Later when I grew up, I developed contact dermatitis. Some places in my body, I had dry and itchy skin, some places it was wet and oozing.The rest of the body was scarred with black patches. Oh boy! This was more than enough to scar my already low self-esteem.
Back to me in college, I carried my low self-esteem wherever I went, like I carried my handbag. It was like a huge rock on my back that never let me walk straight. The first few days in college were very difficult. I was very home sick. I was crying most of the time. I longed to go back home. I had manifestations of my fear in the form of diseases.
My college being a Christian college introduced Jesus to us. I already had exposure to Jesus but not in a tangible way. Later in time, I encountered Jesus in various special ways. Jesus transformed my life, He gave me an identity. The Bible says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The master designer who designed the universe with billions of galaxies, the majestic sun which can easily hold thousands of earths, the tigers with flaming eyes, and whatnot. Isn’t this the same God who made me? He made me in HIS OWN IMAGE. Can this God make mistakes in the way He made me? Not at all. I am beautiful the way I am because I have my identity in Jesus.
My perspective changed with time, I realized that it was not that bad. People are not so cruel after all. People could be approachable if you deal with your own insecurities with ease.
Special people walked into my insecure life. We got along great. Our frequencies matched. We became a clique. I was accepted for who I was. I had friends who valued me for who I was, not for not externals, not my looks or my skin. They stuck to me for life. My college facilitated such a conducive environment. We had such lovely people, lovely seniors, and staff who showed the love of God. Our seniors made sure that we did not feel lonely. I grew very confident. I became an extrovert from an introvert. I enjoyed my college life so much.
I realized that it was my insecurities that put me in a shell. It was my insecurities that stunted my growth. Insecurities feed mental health issues like depression, low self-esteem, trust issues, etc. Friendship is more than looks. Friendship is more than your flawless skin. I made friends who stayed with me through thick and thin. I made friends who are with me till date. I can be assured of their support no matter what.
My story is not over yet. My story has just begun. God just did not give me an identity, but He healed me from many diseases. With God, life is an adventure for sure. Everyday is filled with surprises. If you want to read the story of God’s healing power and restoration in my life, stay tuned for my next post.
I am Priya Stanley. Wife, mom, ambivert, I love making friends, I am a facilitator / teacher and an artist.